This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Survey of Music Teacher Perspectives of National Board Certification: Encouragers, Deterrents, and the Application Process




Wilson, Phil

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Teacher certification is an important topic in the history of teaching in American education. Policymakers have recognized that for students to meet high standards, their teachers must also be of high quality (Goldhaber, Perry & Anthony, 2004; McCaffrey, Lockwood, Koretz, & Hamilton, 2003). The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a teacher-led national standards board created to define, assess, and nurture teacher excellence. Teachers gain National Board Certification (NBC) by submitting evidence that they meet and exceed the standards established by NBPTS. Specifically, teachers provide teacher-created portfolios, videos, assessments, and student work samples demonstrating their pedagogical knowledge, understanding of how students learn, assessment practices, and evidence that they participate in learning communities. The NBPTS began nationally certifying teachers in the mid-1990’s. Certification for music educators, however, was not included in the initial creation. NBPTS assembled music representatives from various levels of education and educational entities to begin developing music standards in 1998. Music teachers were eligible to apply and complete the process in 2001. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the variables (incentives, time, mentoring, costs) that may encourage or may deter music educator application for NBC in music education. The population for this study included music educators in the southeastern United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee). Potential participants (N = 8,346) were randomly selected K-12 music teachers who were members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). A total of 222 participants completed a researcher-created online questionnaire, which is a response rate of 2.66%. The results of this study yielded three key findings. First, over half of the participants in this study (n = 116, 52.3%) felt that financial incentives from the state or local boards of education were the largest motivators to pursue and complete board certification. Next, about half of participants (n = 105, 47.3%) reported that time to complete the process was the biggest deterrent for not pursuing the process. Lastly, participants’ knowledge of support of NBC varied by states, though most seemed familiar with the process and what it took to gain NBC.